This post is part of Sadhana, a 26-week exploration of each of the Namaste Yoga sequences. It’s never too late to join! All that is required is to try a new Namaste sequence each week – and don’t forget to post about your experiences to be entered in our monthly contests. Read all the Sadhana posts here or connect with others participating in Sadhana on our Facebook wall.
A great bird perches aloft a high, rocky ledge. His spirit calls him to fly. He opens his wings, just a bit. Air rushes beneath layers of strategically placed bones and feathers. The bird can feel the power and lift of the wind that swirls all around him. In one powerful motion, the bird gathers strength and grace, faith and skill, leaping from the edge and extending his wings. The air connects with his intent, and he is carried across the sky. At one with the universe, the being rides the wind.
A bird in flight is an awe-inspiring sight indeed. There are times when each one of us wishes for at least some of these qualities: a light heart, a cumbersome feeling to lift away, freedom, strength, grace. In many ways, these attributes of flight are attainable. Sometimes, we just need to be inspired to take a flight of fancy.
Riding the Wind is one such flight. The idea of being a bird, testing its wings and feeling the call to soar immediately springs to mind when first beginning this sequence. The Earth-Rain Breath Body Link creates the breeze, it’s up to you to connect with your intent and find in yourself the capacity to soar.
Tap and lift your arms to the sky. Feel the entire length of your body stretching ever upwards, then glide down into the Forward Fold. Notice how your weight shifts and your feet are balancing and rebalancing, adjusting to this continual redistribution of your weight. Rising into Chest Lift is an early foray into flight, arms stretching and chest lifting to embrace all the air and space that surrounds you.
Tree pose is where you start to open your wings. Feel the strength of your center, notice the grounding foot and leg again shifting, maybe even wobbling at first. As you exhale and stretch your arms for the sky once more, notice that wobble begins to lessen. As your faith increases, so does your strength, balance and capacity to stretch.
Moving to Warrior III allows you to deepen that feeling of being supported in space. Send the arms and legs back with the confidence of that great bird, then bring the arms forward and really reach out. Stretch up, then back into the Warrior pose again. Examine how the shift affects your body and take notice of all the feelings that surface as you change from vertical, to horizontal and back again.
Now it is time to gather your faith and confidence and feel your strength as you merge those qualities with your intent to fly. Wrap your fingers around your big toe and test your newly formed wing! Be fully aware of your thoughts and feelings as your body continues to reach up and outward. Incredible!
Your spirit can soar in this practice. Here you can enjoy a flight of fancy, a dare to dream. It’s about awareness, not perfection.
“As if to give up competing with yourself, and simply see the honesty in your effort,” Kate says.
To set the spirit free is most certainly the best way to fly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heather Gregory is an avid Namaste yogini and has been practicing the sequences nearly every day for three years. We enlisted Heather to embark on Sadhana, our 26 -week journey, and blog about each sequence. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org